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TsoHosts: the Tech Angel for female entrepreneurs, Kelly Cairns

TsoHosts: the Tech Angel for female entrepreneurs, Kelly Cairns

Posted 06th May, 2020 by Sarah

8-minute read

Starting a business from scratch isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would do it.

In a constantly evolving digital landscape the thought of taking your business idea online can be a daunting one. There is so much technology out there, right? From social platforms to websites, it’s hard to know where to start or if you should even start at all.

So, what do you do? Do you just accept that your business idea is going to be a dream that you never realise, or do you take inspiration and advice from someone who has been there and done that? This is where Tech Angel, Kelly Cairns comes in.

Tech Angel

Kelly started her business 12 years ago. In the days before social media marketing. Yes, there was such a time.

Whilst on maternity leave from her managerial position at the NHS, she began searching for ways to work from home when she stumbled across the term ‘virtual assistant’. Something that at the time was big in America, but not so much in the UK. She started networking online and suddenly work began pouring in and a new business was born.

As Kelly’s business grew, she won awards, she worked with big name clients like Universal Studios, music arenas and television personalities. But, she realised that in order to continue her success, she needed to create a strong digital presence online.

The challenges she faced on that journey are what led her business to evolve into what it is today. Kelly’s mission is clear: to simplify technology for female entrepreneurs and help them take their businesses online.

We sat down with Kelly to talk with her about her journey and what advice she has for people who are starting their digital journey.

TSO: Kelly, can you tell us more about what it was like taking your business online and how it evolved into what it is today?

KELLY: Well, going back to how I began, I was a mum with two boys under two, it was back in 2007, just as the recession was about to hit. I had zero childcare, so the only way I could work was online. But, there was no way of marketing out in the open, no Facebook, I’m not even sure Twitter had evolved into an online platform for businesses then. I didn’t have a website, so the only ‘online’ as I knew it, was forums where I could network.

But, over time it began to evolve, Facebook took over, and everyone began making business pages and making friends in a different way. It allowed businesses to grow on a whole other level, no Facebook ads then though. But, also a lot less noise, so you were able to be seen every time you posted something. Good times!

However, the online space grew rapidly, people started to realise that the internet was a great place to shout about your skills and everyone began to fight for that window of opportunity. Mainly on Facebook. Not much has changed there.

I soon began to realise that I needed to be savvy about my next move. I was too tight to outsource anything, and I love to learn anyway, so I built my own website (it was rubbish, I admit). I then created a Facebook page and started networking and telling anyone who would listen about my brand new business.

I began to get a good reputation and my books were soon full. Zero advertising, just word of mouth and sharing my skills in forums with other people who were looking to do the same thing. Something that has stuck with me until this very day.

I guess, because I had the space to grow organically without the saturation of competition there is now, I was able to learn along the way, understand how things worked and, in turn, it allowed me to build a solid award winning business, through my own mistakes and wins.

TSO: It seems like Facebook was a big factor in the growth of your business. Can you tell us more about how you started your Facebook group?

KELLY: It absolutely was! Again, like most things with me, I don’t know it’s happened until it’s happened. It started out as a Facebook page sharing group. People join, people posted their daily updates and other members would share it on their page. This was when the algorithm on Facebook pages started to change, but before Facebook advertising.

But, I got bored of that… it wasn’t my passion. It wasn’t something that made me want to get out of bed in the morning. So, I decided to change it into a community, a place where female entrepreneurs could come and ask their questions on building their online place, in a safe space. Female business owners often feel embarrassed asking questions in fear of looking stupid, or silly or a failure. I didn’t want that. And that’s how The Tech Angel Club was born.

It has allowed me to build a supportive community, and a place where I am able to support, offer value and sell my products organically.

TSO: What advice would you give to someone who is about to embark on that journey?

KELLY: Firstly, learn to say no. In the beginning, I felt that I had to take on every job that came my way in order to be successful. I didn’t. Running your own business, in whatever capacity isn’t easy. So it’s important that you only do what you absolutely love! Otherwise, you’ll dread getting up in the morning.

Secondly, know who you’re selling to. You’d be surprised how many business owners don’t know this. If you don’t nail it, you’re setting yourself up for a fall.

Lastly, find a mentor! Ask your network. There are so many people out there that are willing to take your money, make false claims, sell courses you’ll buy and probably won’t do. So find yourself someone you connect with that can mentor you, this will not only save you from wasting a ton of cash, but also give you someone to hold you accountable and keep you motivated. You’re going to need it!

TSO: What did you find to be the biggest technological challenge to taking your business online?

KELLY: Oh gosh! The amount of options! So many options! So many tools and platforms. It’s a money pit out there. This again, is why you should find yourself the right guidance early on. Someone who has been in your shoes and knows the right tools for your business.

TSO: And finally, if you could give someone a single tip for generating income from their website, what would it be?

KELLY: It’s not about you it’s about them! No one cares how many awards you have, or how many letters you have after your name. When they visit your website, they want to know if you can help them. So keep it simple and to the point. This not only applies to your website, but every piece of marketing that you do.

To find out more about Kelly, check out her website and Facebook group.

Categories: Small Businesses

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